Tomorrow (Mon, Aug 21st) the highly anticipated eclipse is set to be seen across the United States, including Illinois, with portions of the state being ground zero to see the full total eclipse.

The eclipse will be visible across the entire state at a varying degree during the late morning and early afternoon hours, with the peak being roughly between 1:15-1:26PM CDT. Across Northern and Central Illinois a partial to nearly full eclipse will be seen, with an 85-97% obscurity range from northeast to southwest across this area. The best viewing will be across Southern Illinois with a near to full total eclipse, where 97-100% obscurity range will be seen from northeast to southwest across this area.

Unfortunately, weather will be playing a big role in viewing the eclipse across much of the state. Areas of showers and thunderstorms are expected develop and move across portions of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri tonight. This activity is currently expected to push into portions of Northwest and Western Illinois during the early morning hours. Model guidance currently has remnant showers, thunderstorms and extensive cloud cover from this activity lingering and pushing across much of Northern and Central Illinois, as well as portions of Southern Illinois, during the rest of the morning and afternoon. Should this scenario occur, this could pose significant issues for those trying to view the eclipse across much of the state. With that said, the best chance for viewing at this time looks to be across Southern Illinois, where the threat for precipitation and clouds will be a bit lower. It should be noted that forecasts can change significantly in a short period of time, especially at this time of year. So while eclipse viewing currently looks to be iffy for a good portion of the state at this time, as the scenario with overnight thunderstorms becomes more clear, the forecast for viewing could change by morning. We will have an updated forecast posted in the morning, with hopefully good news for viewing conditions.

A brief bit of info for those that do not know what a solar eclipse is or have never experienced one… A solar eclipse occurs when the moon moves between and sun and the earth, causing the sun to be blocked from our view and casting a shadow on earth. When the eclipse is occurring the moon will slowly move in front of, past, and then away from the sun. This process will be visible and will start around 11:49-11:52AM, continuing into the early afternoon. The peak of the eclipse will be occurring between 1:15-1:26PM. At this peak time, this will be the greatest the sun will be blocked from our view, and it will be blocked at varying degrees across the state. Additionally, at and near this peak time, conditions will become darker outside. It won’t be as dark as night, but it will be noticeably darker, along with the sky turning a darker color as well, similar to what you would see closer to sunrise or sunset. In areas that see cloud cover during the eclipse, it might be a bit darker than other areas. Temperatures will likely steady or perhaps fall in many areas as well, with the loss solar heating. After this peak time, the moon will continue to move past, allowing the sun to re-emerge. The eclipse will come to an end between 2:41-2:51PM.

When viewing the eclipse do not stare at it with your bare eyes, with sunglasses or through your camera. Even though the sun will be blocked, it is still harmful to your eyes and will cause damage. “Eclipse glasses” are being sold at many local stores or gas stations for an inexpensive price, and will allow for safe viewing. Additionally, if photographing or filming the eclipse make sure your device has a UV filter, as it can also be damaged. Many people across the county area traveling to areas that will see the full total eclipse, including Southern Illinois. Anyone living or traveling to Southern Illinois will need to be prepared for increased traffic and abnormally busy conditions, which may already be occurring in some areas as people arrive early in preparation for the eclipse.

A solar eclipse is an event you may only see a few times in your lifetime, so get out there to view, witness and enjoy it…